Did you know 22 million workers in America are exposed to potentially harmful level of noise every year at their workplace? It is also estimated that 1 in 4 adults aged 20-69 have noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
Most people think of workplace safety as fall prevention or other such hazards that can cause immediate and severe injury, but one of the most common safety concerns in the workplace is the risk of hearing loss. May is designated as Better Hearing Month to raise awareness and help you take steps to protect your workers’ ears!
When looking at noise and hearing loss prevention, there are two main types of noise that cause hazards to your hearing – impulse sound and continuous exposure.
- Impulse sound – sudden, loud noise that is typically brief in nature. In the work environment, this is usually a machine that activates quickly making a loud noise.
- Continuous Exposure – this is much more common in the workplace. It may not be extremely loud, but it’s constant, and people tend to get used to it, but it is causing ongoing damage.
One of the best ways to help prevent hearing loss is to make sure you are providing proper personal protection equipment (PPE) for noise reduction. Here are the most common options:
- Ear Plugs – effective and inexpensive way to block out the majority of the damaging noise
- Traditional Ear Muffs – for louder locations, ear protection that goes over the ears is most beneficial
- Electronic Ear Muffs – these can drown out all the background noise, but capture the voices and conversations and play them back into your ear
Giving your employees options that they are comfortable with means they will most likely use them on a regular basis. Cultivating a safe workplace is an employer’s responsibility, and a sound investment (see what we did there?) is to implement hearing programs and protections. At Workplace Safety, we can help you establish a hearing conservation program or conduct noise surveys to see where in the organization hearing protection is a must. Give us a call at 317-253-9737 and check out our noise measurement section of our website.